Circuit type: Temporary street course
Designed as the showpiece finale event for the Australian Supercars Championship, Newcastle's street course has replaced the event around Sydney's Olympic Park as one of New South Wales' major events.
Newcastle is NSW's second most populous city, and is located 160 kilometres north of the capital, Sydney. The city beat off a rival bid from Gosford - further down the coast towards the state capitol - to secure the prestigious date.
Debuting in 2017, the circuit is set in the picturesque eastern district of the city taking in local landmarks such as Nobbys Beach, Fort Scratchley and the Harbour Foreshore. The pit lane, team garages and corporate hospitality facilities are centred on Wharf Road, adjacent to Foreshore Park and the former tug berths in Newcastle Harbour, with the rest of the circuit winding through several residential areas and local parkland - creating a certain amount of controversy locally.
Opponents of the race are unhappy with the amount of parkland that is likely to see redevelopment. Foreshaw Park will see some changes to accommodate the pit lane and paddock, while new roads will be built across green space at several other points.
In response to the feedback, the initial plans - first revealed in September 2016 - were revised at the end of the year, with the section through Pacific Park eliminated altogether (removing the need to bulldoze a new road through its centre) and also solving a potential future problem as the area is earmarked for construction activity for Newcastle's proposed light rail system.
Instead the circuit now continues up Watt Street to the intersection with Shortland Esplanade where drivers will make a left turn to run down alongside Newcastle Beach to Zaara Street, while the end of the lap has also been redesigned and simplified, to create a horseshoe-shaped hairpin as opposed to the more extensive multi-apex turn complex of the original plans.
These changes may actually prove to be beneficial in terms of the raceability of the track, although, while undoubtedly picturesque and featuring some elevation changes, there are considerable portions of the track which are narrow and unlikely to promote side-by-side action. It remains to be seen whether the race will be visual spectacle for TV viewers but something of a let-down for the drivers, spectators and for locals when it debuts on 24-26 November, 2017.
The Newcastle Street Circuit is located in the eastern district of the city of the same name in New South Wales, Australia. Newcastle Airport is around 25-minutes north of the city at Williamtown, with five airlines providing connections from Brisbane, the Gold Coast Sydney, Canberra and and Melbourne.
Final details of the event organisation and infrastructure are still being finalised, so it is not yet clear what spectators arrangements will be in place and how and where the entry points to the circuit will be. Howevever, event details will be posted at the official circuit website http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Supercars/Home as they emerge.
Newcastle is a pretty easy place to navigate. There are two major roads that lead into the city - the M1 and Pacific Highway - and with a regional airport (Newcastle Airport) located just 20 minutes drive from the CBD, and bus, train and taxi services throughout the city.